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WWE Superstar Shake-up 2018 – Night 1 Recap

WWE Superstar Shake-up 2018 – Night 1 Recap

We all knew that this day would come as the WWE likes to shake things up every now and then. Now, just a week after Wrestlemania, we are getting the second Superstar Shake-up which, basically, brings some changes to the rosters of RAW and SmackDown Live, with some promotions from NXT.

The very first announcement was that the Modern Day Maharaja, Jinder Mahal, has been drafted to the red brand, bringing his United Stated Championship back to RAW, after it went to SmackDown just last year.

Along with a welcoming message from RAW‘s General Manager, Kurt Angle, Mahal had to defend his title as soon as he arrived against none other than Jeff Hardy, who defeated him in a 15-ish minutes match after a rather usual combination for him: Twist of Fate + Swanton Bomb, to prove the Mahal was not the “best performer of any brand”.

 

As an interesting detail, by winning this match -and therefore, the United States Championship- Jeff Hardy has become a Grand Slam Champion, which means, he has earned at least 1 world title (WWE or Universal), 1 tag team title (SmackDown or RAW), and both secondary titles (United States and Intercontinental), to join the likes of Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Edge, Big Show, The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins.

The second match of the night had Bayley facing Sasha Banks, a match that has a lot of background since this is the usual friend-turned-foe story between them. After a rather aggressive match, Sasha locked Bayley into the Bank Statement; however, the Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan) attacked both, leaving us with a winner-less match, and announcing that this faction is taking over the red brand.

For the third match of the night, we had Rhyno & Heath Slater against the recently promoted Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) as a rematch for last week’s defeat. For some reason AoP does not look as big and overpowered in the red brand as they did during their reign of terror in NXT; however they are still dominating and now bringing some new fresh talent to the tag division of RAW. In a rather fast match, AoP defeated their rivals, to keep earning momentum.

After having these matches, we get to The Miz’ segment Miz TV. We were getting a lot of advertising about “a top superstar that would be coming to RAW”. The Miz goes on to welcome the newest members of the roster: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, even after they were asked to have a match between them last week for one spot in the roster, with none of them winning and therefore missing the opportunity to be hired after they got fired from the blue brand.

Unexpectedly, Kurt Angle appeared to tell Miz that he isn’t the one calling the shots, and reminding us about last week’s match. Sami took out a piece of paper, though, a letter saying that Kevin and Sami proved they were worthy to be members of the brand, and announcing a renewal of their contracts, a letter by Stephanie McMahon. Yep! She did it again.

Kurt was not going to stay quiet. He announces that The Miz is going back to SmackDown Live, and he will go after a 10-men tag team match, with his team being Miztourage, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, against a team with Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and a newcomer yet to be announced.

The next match of the night is The Revival against the newest team in the division: Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt. After an interesting match with Matt and Bray being 100% synchronized, they get this match and are classified to The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, where they will have a match against The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) for the RAW Tag Team Championship belts which are currently vacant after Braun Strowman and Nicholas surrendered them right after winning them at Wrestlemania.

The next segment we see is The Fashion Police making their arrival to RAW, as they faceThe Bar to let them know that they are awfully dressed.

Now we have a segment with Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle, just to get the announcement of Natalya moving to RAW from SmackDown. Apparently, Ronda and Natalya have known each other for a while now.

The next match of the night: Ember Moon against Mickie James, with the RAW Women’s Champion, Nia Jax, in the commentator table. Of course, there’s still a lot of shade between the champ and Alexa Bliss, so we had to hear some talk against her coming from Nia. Alexa appears on screen saying she wasn’t there because she didn’t want to be nearby Nia, announcing that she will cash her rematch clause in the next PPV Backlash.

After a great match as we are used from both, Mickie and Ember Moon, Ember comes out victorious.

Now we get the best possible surprise: Dolph Ziggler has been drafted to RAW. This is definitely the best thing that could happen to Dolph given the really poor way in which creatives have been using him on SmackDown. He comes into the ring and breaks a great promo to say he is the one who can steal any show, this until Titus Worldwide interrupts him to “welcome” him into the show while also trying to recruit him. Dolph announces that he isn’t coming alone, and Drew McIntyre appears to destroy Titus and his team.

Will they be coming as a team or just friends that will help each other achieve their goals?

Roman Reigns appears among a lot of booing. He is not wearing ring attire. He brings another promo, talking about the Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, and throwing shade at him because of his part-timer status. Samoa Joe interrupts to say that he will be waiting for him after his Steel Cage Match against Lesnar, just to finish the job and destroy him. Samoa shows a video of every time Brock has defeated Roman. Roman asks Samoa Joe to fight him, but of course, Joe is smarter.

Next on we have Natalya’s very first match, this one being against Mandy Rose, and winning it with the Sharpshooter, just to be attacked by Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose, to end up getting Ronda Rousey to appear in order to defend her. Absolution leaves the ring, but Sonya goes back and attacks Ronda, just to get completely destroyed by Ronda.

 

We get an announcement of the newest addition to the RAW roster: Baron Corbin, the owner of the End of Days finisher which has been rather secured by the WWE as it almost every single time has won matches for him.

Breezango arrives to the ring for its first match in the red brand against The Bar. Sheamus and Cesaro were super aggressive, but in a surprising ending, Tyler Breeze gets a 3 count on Cesaro to win in their debut.

Elias comes to an interview with Renee Young, he seems to be starting a feud against Bobby Lashley as he didn’t like Lashley interrupting him. Elias wanted to serenade Renee, but she simply ended the interview as soon as he started playing the guitar.

We finally get to the main event of the evening, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn make an entrance together, same as Miztourage with The Miz. Then, Braun Strowman appears making his usual entrance to the ring but he isn’t the smiley guy he was last week alongside Nicholas, that team breakup must’ve hurt him. Finn Balor follows in his blue ranger attire, because he can be any Power Ranger. Bobby Lashley appears. He may be on the WWE again, but for me, the “Walking Armageddon” is his perfect nickname. The Intercontinental Champion is the next to appear, Seth Rollins looking good with that white belt for sure.

Now we get to know who the unannounced new superstar is: Bobby Roode!!! GLORIOUS!!!!!

What a team! This looks to be the match of the week with so many superstars at the same time. Braun certainly wants to attack Sami, but the ones starting this match are Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins.

The match is entirely under control by the face team, even when the heels are doing everything they can to distract the referee and attack when they aren’t supposed to, of course. Bobby Lashley is certainly one of the strongest competitors here, I can see him being the next one to defeat Brock Lesnar with a 3 count, given how the last person to do it was Eddie Guerrero a long time ago.

In the end, we get the usual spot with everyone hitting their finishers, and Miztourage finally turned on Miz, refusing to tag in when Miz was fighting against Braun Strowman. Braun hits his finisher to win the match. This is the birth of the most overpowered team in the WWE. RAW must keep this team in mind for Survivor Series.

Of course, not only what we got to see during the show happened. The WWE announced through their official social media accounts that Mojo Rawley and Mike Kanellis have been moved to RAW from SmackDown. Nothing was said about Maria Kanellis, though. Additionally, Chad Gable and Zack Ryder, along with The Ascension have been moved to RAW.

Looks like SmackDown is short on superstars now, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see which members of RAW are coming to the blue brand.

1 Comment

  1. Very nice write up John. I appreciate the humor in your analysis. Keep up the entertaining work!

    No word on Shelton Benjamin joining his partner yet? Could be the chance to see what the kid has on his own.

    Reply

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